Sunday, 18 March 2018

Two New Friends

It has snowed again. To my surprise this morning I pulled open the curtains to a winter wonderland. In spring. So my plans to introduce my new friends to you with a background of a sunny spring afternoon had to be scrapped. Instead I will introduce my new friends indoors...

Oldest first: this is Violet, a week-old Mule x Texel...

And this is Heather, another Mule x Texel:

Violet was born last Monday (12th March) and her mum obviously loved her to bits. But on Tuesday it looked like Violet was hungry and mum didn't have enough milk for her. We were going to leave the pair together, only mum lay on her baby's back legs by accident, leaving Violet very sore. It was a narrow escape, and just in case we weren't so lucky next time, we took Violet away and put her mum out in the field.

As for Heather, her story is a little more straightforward. Mum simply didn't want her. I can't think why - I think she's just gorgeous.

And where was Pip while I was taking these pictures? Hiding in the wheelbarrow.

Recently I noticed that Lois has grown some little white hairs around her eyes. A bit young to be going grey, surely?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Thirty-Two Mules

Over the past month or so, as we've tried to keep our lambing ewes out of trouble, my dad and I have been talking about changing the flock and taking it in a new direction. Too many of our ewes have little to no mothering instinct. We needed some Mules, we decided. As luck would have it some Mules practically fell onto our laps and on Saturday we brought them to their new home.

We ended up with thirty-two hoggets - three that already lambed, the rest all scanned and due from this week.

A Mule is a crossbred sheep, with a Scottish Blackface mother and a Blue-Faced Leicester father. Considered by many to be the ultimate breeding ewe.

They're very quiet compared to our own ewes, and very curious. They also have great, long, expressive faces.

I think they're just lovely. I feel in love with them after about an hour of having them home. They arrived on the same day that Mabel died, so Dad said I could have one. So of course I picked the black one - everyone, meet Shirley!

They are a joy to photograph.

(This one had a lamb just this afternoon.)

This is one of the Mules who had already lambed before she arrived.

And this is her little ewe lamb.

On Sunday morning, Mother's Day, this one was in trouble. Her lamb was huge, and it took the both of us about twenty agonising minutes to get it out.

But we did! And he's very handsome. A little cracker.

Even though this is only her first lamb, this Mule is very protective.

The other Mother's Day mother was one of our "regular" ewes. She's two and this is her first baby. She was very good and looked after it well.

We've gone from just twenty-five ewes left to lamb to over twice that, but it's great working with the lovely Mules and at the end of it all hopefully we'll have a better flock.

Saturday, 10 March 2018



Thursday, 8 March 2018


What's Olive looking at, you ask?

It's this snow drift. I, being all of eight years old, wanted to wade through it. But Olive is very small and the snow is very deep.

I left her in Fly's capable paws as Lois, Pip and I wandered in.

Lois was right on my heels so I couldn't get a picture of her, while Pip was just sniffing around. Olive, meanwhile, had decided to come and join us. She jumped from one of my footprints to the other.

Defeated by the depth of the snow, Olive returned to Fly's side...

...only to return a moment later for a second, full-speed attempt!

She made it! And on our way back to join Fly, Olive went first to wait with her new friend.

Back on "dry land", Lois did a little exploring too. The ground looked like milk but didn't taste like it.

She said hello to Fly.

Little Olive was much more at home here.

She too discovered that while snow looks like milk, it doesn't quite taste the same.

Lois looked very pretty in the snow.

The snow has mostly melted now, save that snow huge drift and some bits here and there. So that was our first few days of spring!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

I'm Dreaming of a White... Birthday?

It's supposed to be the beginning of spring, but what we have instead is yet another blanket of snow. This is the first time there has been snow on my birthday. It added to the fun of the day! I took Fly out to the field to meet my flock for the first time, and to check on them because it was very cold and I hadn't seen them all day.

I needn't have worried. They were all rummaging behind the hedge where there were taking shelter from the biting wind. And as usual, Blue Belle looks simply stunning in snow.

The sheep were busy trying to find something to eat. (I don't want to provide extra feed for them until after the lambs are born. If there are any.)

Audrey is well protected against the cold with that long fleece.

Penny had some snow stuck on her nose.

The snowfall became heavier and everyone - including me - headed for the shelter of the hedge.

Fly was too scared to come any closer.

The shelter provided snacks.

I asked Fly to come over but she just did a big circle.

Rosie looks amazing in snow too.


...and Morag are right at home in the snow. (And hedges, apparently.)

Audrey is covered in hedgy evidence.

Bob tried to go and say hello to Fly. She bravely ran away.

This is the face of a ewe who's fed up with me asking her if she's pregnant every time I see her. I mean, she is very wide...

Fingers still crossed!